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Courtroom Comments from 1st Degree Murder Trial

February 8th, 2019 by
Brian RussellRidenerA jury of six men and six women heard testimony from state witnesses and the defendant Brian Russell throughout Thursday’s trial.

Testimony consisted of blood stains found in the defendant’s home, on the front driver door panel of his car, Russell’s clothing and blood on his hands during a traffic stop and subsequent arrest in Monticello, and a trash bag on the back car seat containing Ridener’s shoes and paper towels with red stains.
When stopped by Monticello police on January 14, officer’s observed that his clothes and hands were bloody and that he was wearing a ladies hoody. It was later learned that the hoodie belonged to Ridener. When questioned about the blood, Russell told officer’s it was from a deer.
The trash bag was not found until a search of Russell’s vehicle after Ridener’s body was discovered in mid February. The vehicle had remained in police custody since the night of his arrest.
It was later learned that prior to being stopped in Monticello, he had left his home and driven to Bradley County where Russell disposed of Ridener’s purse and her body ten miles apart, then drove through Drew County on his way home.
Testifying on his own behalf, Russell denied any knowledge of the trash bag found his car and alleged that it must have been planted there to frame him.
However, the car had been impounded since the night of Ridener’s disappearance.
The defendant acknowledged that he had gone on a blind date with Shannon Ridener. During the course of the date, he alleged that he and Ridener had driven to her dads’ to borrow $20 and then to Norsworthy’s to buy alcohol. After purchasing alcohol he said they drove to his sister’s home, borrowed more money to buy more alcohol. From there, he stated that they drove to his home to watch a movie.
He further stated that they both had been drinking, and engaged in intimate contact. Russell stated that Ridener started to playing with his revolver and he told her it was loaded and to leave the gun alone.
He said that at some point he had passed out and later was awoken by a noise and found Ridener’s body on his floor. Russell claimed he was scared and did not want to be associated with Ridener’s death and disposed of her after finding her on his floor with an alleged self inflicted gun shot wound to the right temple.

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70 Year Prison Sentence for 1st Degree Murder & Other Charges  February 7, 2019
Jury verdictThe jury in the murder trial of Brian Russell went into deliberation at 2:25, Thursday afternoon.

At 3:30, they returned to the courtroom with 3  guilty verdicts.

On the charge of first-degree murder, of Shannon Ridener in 2018,Russell received a 40 year sentence and must serve 70% of it, which is a 28 year minimum.

He was sentenced to 20 years on the charge of felon in possession of a firearm and 10 years for abuse of a corpse. He must serve at least 1/6 of those sentences, for a minimum of 5 more years. 

The jury went on to stipulate, which was agreed to by Judge Bynum Gibson, that the charges must run consecutively (back to back).

 

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The Ashley County circuit court took lunch break during the murder trial of Brian Russell, accused of the 2018 death of Shannon Ryder, of Crossett.

During opening arguments and prosecution witness testimony, the state presented evidence that Russell had blood on him when he was stopped for DWI charges in Monticello. Russell claimed that that was deer blood, but that proved to be a false statement. The state also said during opening statements that they have “blood DNA” connecting the defendant to the deceased.

The defense has indicated that they admit the two had a relationship, but intend to convince the jury that the deceased shot herself with Russell’s revolver.

Russell has claimed that he did not want to be associated with her death, so he fled the scene, leaving her body abandoned.

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Brian RussellMurder Trial Begins for Death of Missing Lady, Recovered near River – February 7, 2019
Ridener In January, 2018, several counties in our area were searching for Shannon Ridener, a 38-year-old Crossett (Ashley County) woman, who’s purse was found three days after her disappearance near a river in Bradley County.

A person of interest in the case, Brian Russell, was arrested for DWI in Monticello (Drew County), in early February, 2018.  He was then taken into custody by the Ashley County sheriffs department.

Ms. Ridener’s remains were located near Beech Creek, south of Hermitage, on Highway 63, on February 15, by an off-duty AG&F officer.

Russell’s murder trial begins this morning, in Ashley County, where he also is charged with abuse of a corpse.

Sheilla Prescott, reporter for  HamburgHeadlines.com, will be in court, reporting on the jury trial,  as it takes place.

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